Guests: and

Key passages:

Romans 6; 8
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Galatians 5:16-26

Exiled from Eden and at enmity with our Creator, we ask if there is a road back home? Is there a bridge across the great chasm. Can we become his children again? Can the likeness of God, nearly destroyed, be restored in us? Can we become truly human, made in the image of God?

The writers of the New Testament never under-estimate the extent of the devastation from sin and the strength of its grip on the heart. Yet with even greater fervor they speak of the power of the Spirit of the crucified and resurrected Jesus to break the hold of sin. Reconciled with God and filled with his utter fulness, we become Godís work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life (Ephesians 3:19; 2:9, 10).

Key questions:

  1. Paul calls the followers of Jesus to “work out your salvation in fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). What, specifically, is this work? How do we accomplish it?
  2. Explain in as concrete terms as you can, how we cooperate with God in the grand work of restoration? What does God ask us to do?
  3. If the practices of the spiritual life, such as prayer and immersion in the Word of God, are like breathing essential for spiritual survival, then how can we say we are saved and sustained by grace and not by works?
  4. What is the work of the Holy Spirit in the believerís experience?
  5. The words, “justification” and “sanctification,” are not found in the New Testament. Yet Christian theologians use these words to describe two aspects of the salvation offered through Christ. From a biblical perspective, what does it mean to be “justified?” If sanctification is a process, when can we speak with confidence of our being “sanctified?”
  6. Jesusí call to perfection, even as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48), seems to launch us on a dangerous road named “perfectionism” that leads to damnation through either utter discouragement or hypocritical pride. How can we engage in the quest to be perfect without falling for perfectionism?

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